Photo: Steve Brennan
Wearing: Dolce & Gabbana top, Valentino boots

A month away from my one-year anniversary with James, I’ve been reflecting a lot about my dating life over the last seven years in New York.

There’s little I miss about being single. I don’t miss nights wandering through clubs, hoping someone cute will say hello. I don’t miss surfing “dating” apps, hoping for a date with a good guy (and hooking up with plenty of bad guys along the way). I don’t miss wondering if anybody would like me for me, just the way I am.

One thing I do miss: that initial spark when two people with a connection first meet. That spark may last a minute, the night or years, but that first moment when you can see the sparkle in someone else’s eyes… it’s magical.

And if I can’t see that spark in someone’s eyes when they’re looking at me, I’ll find another way.

Last Wednesday, Jack, Giovanni and I went to The West End Lounge for one of our favorite shows, Blue Plate Special with Selma Nilla. (I could go to a drag show seven nights a week, especially if the drag queen was Selma Nilla.)

The only problem was the two-drink minimum, which isn’t usually a problem except I’d shared a bottle of wine with James at dinner.
(And when you “share” a bottle of wine with me, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s not gonna be an even split.)

So, God knows how many drinks in, while Selma Nilla lip synced to a mashup of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and a real news anchor explaining the dangers of salmonella, I noticed that Giovanni was staring at someone in the front row.

“What’s going on?” I asked, leaning over and nearly falling out of my chair. “Do you know that guy?”

“I’ve seen him at the show before: He’s friends with Selma. And he’s really cute.”

“So why don’t you go talk to him?”

“No, no. I don’t want to be weird.”

Selma Nilla’s show ended, and while she thanked the audience for coming, I sprang out of my seat. “Don’t!” Giovanni called out behind me, but it was too late. I was fueled by too much red wine and an itch to see that spark in both of their eyes.

“Hi!” I told the cute boy, ambushing him. “You come here a lot! So do we.” I motioned behind me, where Jack couldn’t stop laughing, and Giovanni was bright red, even in the dimly lit bar.

“I do! I’m friends with Selma.” He had a soft voice and kind smile. I motioned for Giovanni to come over.

“I’m Ian-Michael,” I said, stepping aside, “and this… is Giovanni.”

“Hi,” Giovanni mumbled, mortified.

“Hey!” he exclaimed, suddenly excited. “I’ve seen you here before.” And there it was: I had a front-row seat to The Spark. Their faces softened, their eyes glistened, and you could feel the electricity between them.

“Incredible,” I said out loud.

“Huh?” they asked in unison, turning to me.

“Nothing,” I said, beaming. “Nothing at all.”